US college graduates are far better informed about basic political facts than Americans with only a high school education, according to studies by the Pew Research Center. And men tend to know more about politics than women. At the same time, the US also has infamously low voter turnout compared with the rest of the world. Recent scholarship on voting laws suggests that requiring citizens to vote would not only up turnout—it might also help boost overall political awareness.
As president Barack Obama once told a crowd, “It would be completely transformative if everybody voted.”
... potential to do more than just increase voter turnout, according to ... Jill Sheppard, a political scientist and survey researcher at the Australian National University...in nations that enforce mandatory voting, a wider demographic spectrum is politically informed than in other countries.
As researchers Malcolm Mackerras and Ian McAllister note in their comparative study of political party affiliation, “Compulsory voting ensures that voters cast a ballot and the act of voting means that they are forced to think, however superficially, about the major parties.”
I now know there are steps I can take to change how I think, to find the true me again. That is why I am going to take better care of myself this year. In fact, that’s the only resolution I care to make. For both my own health, and as an important example to my kids, this year, I'm resolving to practice a kindness that starts from within.